John W. "Jack" Nolan, who compiles data on AIDS and HIV cases for the Palm Beach County Health Department, e-mailed county employees with a monthly statistics report on Thursday.
But, he accidentally attached a file listing the names and addresses of AIDS patients and HIV-positive individuals, according to Tim O'Connor, a spokesman for the health department.
Nolan realized his mistake within minutes and contacted the department's computer specialists, who shut down the agency's e-mail system for about an hour, O'Connor said. Technicians removed all copies of the e-mail from the system.
"We don't know the number of people who opened the attachment, but it appears to our information technology staff that only 10 people opened the e-mail," O'Connor said. "We have already contacted most of them and will contact the others Monday."
Health Department Director Dr. Jean Malecki has launched an investigation with Nolan's help. The state health department's inspector general has also been asked to conduct an independent inquiry.
The Associated Press was unable to contact Nolan on Saturday. Two phone listings for John Nolan in Palm Beach County were not his.